Wordsmithing Magic from the Crossroads

wounded man holding stave in front of eight more vertical wands nine of wands Waite Smith tarot

Weekly Tarot

Sept. 13-19, 2021: Nine of Wands

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.
Samuel Adams

As we watch this strange, sad Summer of 2021 slip away in its final full week, the fiery suit of the Tarot turns up the heat again with a visit from the Nine of Wands.

In the Tarot, the Nines are traditionally the culmination of the suit and show how the stories woven within may be resolved. (As was mentioned last week, the Tens foreshadow the next cycle).

Wands are ruled by the element of Fire, which is associated with passion, energy, creativity, action, and power.

We can see that this figure has survived some difficulty, and bears the scars of his struggle. He is bruised, but not defeated.

Yet his defensive posture and his wary expression as he looks over his shoulder speak of his expectation that the fight may only have paused, and not yet be over. His bandaged head hints to us that his wounds may be as emotional as they are physical.

For although the other Wands are protectively lined up behind him, and he is at rest, he is not at ease. His expression is that of someone who fully expects more battles yet to come.

As we can see, this is another example of Pamela Colman Smith, the Waite-Smith deck’s artist, placing the main figure of the card on what appears to be a theater stage. Behind him, the Wands even resemble a curtain. Is it possible that this is a drama enacted for our benefit, rather than a literal truth?

Peace in America

A rather frequent caller, during a 2015 visit, I noted that every person born after 1984 has seen America at war for at least half of his or her life. Now it is more.

And of course, as we were all reminded when the final troops flew home from Kabul, no one twenty years old or younger has ever known a peacetime America, although much effort has been made to cloak the endless combat deployments of our exhausted troops.

Despite being invisible to so many most of the time, there are countless men and women who feel like the figure in the Nine of Wands.

When I thought about the quote from Samuel Adams that I chose, I recalled that I used to be inspired by it, aligned as I am with the historic rebellion that won America’s independence from the crown of England in 1776.

But I am seeing it with fresh eyes today, as I watch a determined, well-funded minority mob of white supremacists, led by a certifiably insane despot, prepare once again to bring violence and chaos to our democracy. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a well-orchestrated effort afoot to overthrow the government, right under our noses.

And I can’t help but think about the “irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires” in a state that is already crippled by fires – both literal and abstract – as they fight this week to overturn the duly elected governor of California, just for the pure malice of it.

Softening Into Your Strength

Whether we are on guard for our nation, or facing a more personal dilemma, this week’s card warns that unrelenting vigilance can lead to burnout. We can become brittle when we feel we are constantly under siege. Is it true that you must always be on guard?

Real power is pliable. Resilience is strength that embraces vulnerability, enabling us to rise to the occasion.

If you are facing hostilities of some kind, do you know how to end them? What intermission might do you a world of good? What needs to happen, so that you can rest more easily and recharge your batteries?

For instance, what if you took a media break? Over this past 9/11 weekend, I gave myself permission to turn off the news and I steered clear of social media. I find that I am much restored for it.

There is no denying that we are all desperately weary from the losses we have endured and the sacrifices we have been making, especially during this prolonged pandemic. It’s no wonder many feel like the walking wounded.

Are you bearing such hurts? What healing gift would help? Is there someone you can reach out to? What alternative ending to this suit’s story of Fire, change, magic, and passion would you prefer to create?

Acknowledging this card’s challenge, let’s you and I find ways to make a just and lasting peace, both within and without. Together, let us quench whatever brush fires threaten to overwhelm what is best in us, while tending our ability to act for one another and on behalf of what matters most.

Now is the opportunity to do so, for when all is said and done, the wand is in your hand.

9 Luminous Sparks… add one

Leave a Comment

Ann Hirschman Schremp September 13, 2021, 8:32 pm

Thank you for those with PTSD who need this💖

Niamh September 13, 2021, 9:05 pm

Hello, Beth. I mostly took a break from tv news this weekend too, and I do feel better. I’ve also been reading books that have nothing whatsoever to do with anything that’s happening now in mundane reality. Ahhh.😌

Christine Harraghy September 14, 2021, 6:41 am

Thank you for your calming words of wisdom during this time of overwhelm. You reminded me there is always choice as to what and how muchI allow in from outside noise.

nofixedstars September 14, 2021, 9:32 am

as someone who lives with a very mentally ill person, this card feels very relevant. both for me, and doubtless it would to him as well. of course, it also seems terribly meaningful in the macro…medical workers? exhausted, and frustrated. teachers? ditto, already. anyone concerned about democracy and functional government? yep. those who long for peace, and those who have fought in long, unclear war? they, too, will resonate with this card.

we all need to take breaks, don’t we?

Maribeth Pittman September 14, 2021, 10:59 am

I love this piece of writing so very much, Beth. Thank you!

Jacqueline September 14, 2021, 2:14 pm

I am just now seeing your card a day later, because the power went out. I actually sat down and read a book and do feel remarkably refreshed for it 🙂

Beth September 14, 2021, 4:56 pm

I love hearing from each of you, and yes, yes, yes to ALL of your comments. PTSD, health care workers, everyone on the frontlines or in harm’s way, month in and month out.

Most of all, I deeply appreciate that you are each willing to speak up, because it helps all of us to remember we are not the Lone Ranger, toughing it out all by ourselves. There are so many kindred spirits, and I love offering this as a gathering place for us to witness and share with each other.

A thousand blessings to each one of you. May gentleness and safety find you exactly where you are.

Megan Baxter September 16, 2021, 10:52 am

This is wonderful. I’ve been making the transition away from engaging with short-form social media to reading newsletters and letting those lead me to long-form articles. It’s been a great relief – I’m still keeping up on what’s going on, but in more thoughtful ways, engaging more deeply with stories rather than reading several dozen hot takes on whatever is catching Twitter’s extremely short attention span.

Your newsletter is such a welcome addition. Thank you.

Beth September 16, 2021, 4:31 pm

Now that is high praise indeed. Thank you so much, Megan. You made my day.

Words not only describe what they say,
but also suggest what can never be said.

~ John O’Donohue
(Be sure to check back weekly;
there’s new inspiration every Sunday.)

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